He may have come up short in his latest bid for the lieutenant governor’s office, but perennial abolition candidate Bob Healey Jr. extended his 15 minutes of fame today by making a cameo appearance in today’s New York Times.
Times reporter A.G. Sulzberger – a former Projo reporter himself, as well as the son of Times publisher and chairman Arthur Sulzberger – attended the annual meeting of the National Lieutenant Governors Association in Omaha, Neb., and found its members making the best of their odd job:
They have been disparaged as spare-tire politicians, kept in the dark and used only in emergencies. They have been dismissed as ribbon-cutting versions of the appendix, prominently situated but without any discernible function. And the office itself has been likened to a form of political purgatory, with occupants passing time hoping for some outside force to elevate them.
If the only safe jokes in politics are the ones at your own expense, lieutenant governors have been blessed with a wealth of comic material.
How does a lieutenant governor shake hands with the governor? He clasps firmly and extends two fingers up the governor’s sleeve to check for a pulse. “We teach that here,” said Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy of Nebraska, displaying the proper form. “I check the pulse of my governor every day. But my governor was a lieutenant governor, so he says stop.”
Our own LG, Elizabeth Roberts, didn’t make the article – I don’t know if she attended the conference – but Healey did:
In Rhode Island, a perennial candidate won nearly 40 percent of the vote last month running for the office on the platform of eliminating it altogether. “This is the most useless appendage of government,” said Robert J. Healey, the candidate. “If you open up the dictionary to ‘sinecure,’ you have a picture of the lieutenant governor of Rhode island.”
(No, the Times didn’t capitalize “Island” in spelling out the state’s name. Perhaps a quiet protest against our failure to remove “and Providence Plantations.”)